Eyes – Ears – Teeth… Quality is in the Details:
Some breeds are particularly susceptible to eye discharge. If ignored it will discolor the coat under the eye. Many products are available at pet stores, which can be used to clean this off, you can use water temporarily though. Using a soft cloth and the solution, first wipe upward to raise the fur and break up any buildup then wipe down to clear it away. Dog ears like humans accumulate dirt and wax. Again, cleansers are available from the pet store, but warm water will do for general cleaning. Use a cotton ball and wipe out the ear. Do not use cotton swabs, you may stick it in too deep and damage the ear. At least once per week brush your dog’s teeth with either salt water or special doggy toothpaste to help remove tarter and food particles. DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE. Dogs do not like either the taste or the foam it creates. Chewing on hard dog biscuits and bones will also help scrape tarter and food particles from dog’s teeth between brushing.
Brushing… The Key to Beauty:
All dogs regardless of their hair length benefit from regular brushing. It stimulates circulation, distributes body oils, and removes dirt and dead skin. The secret to success is selecting the right brush for your dog’s hair length. For a dog with a medium length coat use a regular straight pin brush. For a short smooth haired dog use a regular bristle curry brush. Develop a regular routine starting at the head then working down and backward in sections. Brush the head and neck then the chest, legs, back, and finish with the hindquarters.
Bathing… Cleanliness is Next to Godliness:
The key to bathing is preparation. ALWAYS brush your dog before bathing to remove any tangles in their hair. Collect your special canine shampoo or non-tearing baby shampoos, towels and cottonballs. Set a comfortable water temperature and fill the tub to just above your dog’s knees. Now bring in your pet. Place the cottonballs in the dog’s ears to keep water out of them and place the dog in the water. Using either the tub water or a special shower hose soak him (or her) thoroughly from head to toe. Apply shampoo and use your fingers to scrub the dog in sections from head to tail. Rinse and repeat the process. Rinse especially well the second time since any shampoo left on your dogs skin can cause irritation. Squeeze any extra water from the coat and remove the cottonballs from the ears. Dry with either towels or a blow dryer. After the dog is dry BRUSH IT AGAIN to smooth the coat. DO NOT let your dog go outside until thoroughly dry. You will probably notice your pet rolling on the carpet after the bath. He is not drying off. He is adding smells back to his hair. If you let him out before he dries completely he may find something more interesting to add to his clean hair.
Nail Trimming… You Don’t Want to Get the Point:
Nail trimming is a necessary part of your dog’s health. Failure to keep the nails trimmed will cause your dog to suffer from sore feet. First, be sure to buy the proper nail-trimming tool designed for your dog. Any good pet store or vet should be able to provide what you need. Second, be careful not to cut the nails back to the quick, the blood vessel in the toenail. Place your dog on a stable surface at a comfortable height for you with both of you facing to the left (reverse if you are left-handed). Reach around the body with your right hand and grasp the paw. With your arm around the body you have better control over your pets movements. Lift the paw then place your thumb on the top and fingers under the paw so you can spread the toes and isolate one toenail. With the clippers in the other hand clip the toenail. The trick is to clip the tip of the nail without cutting the quick and making your pet bleed. Clip the nail just below where it starts to curl downward. Even the best groomer will sometimes clip a nail too closely because the dog jumps or moves. If you see blood consider this. It does hurt the dog, but you will learn to do better.
HINT: You can actually see the quick inside the nails of many breeds by holding a flashlight behind the nail.